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Warhammer Club Times

I was having a conversation on the Twitters with a fellow gaming teacher (Mike Davies), and it sparked a little conundrum in my head: When is the best time to run your wargaming club?

Most clubs I've seen run sessions during the week, and oddly enough mostly on Thursdays. Family life tends to mean that the weekends are usually out. Trying to explain to your other half you can't take the little ones to their football match because you want to push toy soldiers around for a few hours is not a conversation that ends well.

Weekdays tend to be when people are free, but usually not Friday. That's the day that tends to be saved for the social events that don't involve the clatter of dice, and usually feature more alcohol.

School clubs are a bit more challenging to find a good slot for, particularly if the school you work in doesn't have an extra curricular activity program.

Your usual times are going to be after school. Some may tempt you into thinking a wargaming club could be done in a lunch time slot one day out of the week. This is absolutely impossible, unless your school has particularly generous lunch times. You need at least an hour for even a small game of 40K, and that's assuming your players know what they're doing.

A little caveat for this is DnD. Depending on the nature of the adventure, you can get away with half an hour sessions in between big events. I wouldn't rely on them though, as the short sessions lead to fragmentation of the campaign, with details and nuance getting lost.

You're most likely going to have to do it after school. But then that comes with it's own challenges. You will be in direct competition for student time against other clubs, and in particular the sports teams. Space Marines are cool, but you will never, ever, EVER win in the choice between 40K and a chance to be sub on the Under 14 Football C team. Literally no chance at all.

Whatever your school's usual sport match day is, strike it off. For my school the match day is Wednesday. Which is, and excuse my language, a right zog because that's when I have my club time.

If I were to pick my day, it would be Tuesday after school. Here's why:

  • Homework is not a priority at the beginning of the week.
  • No matches.
  • Not enough time in the week for students to get detentions (usually!)
  • Students still have energy
Monday is not a good day, as detentions and sanctions from the previous week tend to get issued then.

Your final challenge is the student simple choosing to go home, which is why you need to keep the activity relatively short. One hour is the maximum you're going to get. If you tell the kids they're going to be stuck with you for more than the length of the lesson, around 80% of them will lose interest straight away.

Now don't get discouraged... when they're through the door and the dice start rolling you'll have to remind them to leave, and after about an hour and a half you'll be the one booting them out. But don't force longer than that.

An hour a week is plenty of structured time for students. They'll be wasting precious revision time all on their own coming up with army lists and new paint schemes. All you need to do is give them some breathing room and a little guidance on thinning their paints and not making a Lost Primarch Space Marine chapter.

I mentioned my club day is on a Wednesday. Whilst it's true I compete with the inter-school matches, I have somewhat an ace up my sleeve when it comes to club members. Over my time at the chalk face, I've picked up a number of different roles within the school (as all teachers do), and I get to see about 70% of the student body in a bunch of different capacities. I frequently pop into the boarding houses on a bundle of different errands, and a quick knock on a students door to check on how their Ork WAAAAGGHH!! is progressing keeps them painting the boyz.

That's all a war gaming club is after all. A place where people remind each other of how much fun the hobby is.

I've rambled on enough about this. There's a bit more to talk about in terms of expanding your sphere of nerdy influence, but I'll save that for later. 

Until next time!

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